Heart Day Blog

World Heart Day

Sep 29th, 2018

Archive for September, 2018

World Heart Day

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

World Heart Day is observed across the world on 29th September. It is observed to spread the message of maintaining a healthy heart amongst people. Globally cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death claiming 17.5 million lives each year. The day aims to make people aware about how to control and prevent heart diseases. Controlling risk factors like tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity can avoid 80% of premature deaths from heart diseases.

Cardiovascular (CVD) disease is the world’s number one killer today. It is time we change these statistics. By making just a few small changes to our lives, we can reduce our risk of heart disease. The theme for this year is for my heart, for your heart, for all our hearts. This means to make a promise to take steps to improve your heart health as well as of other around you.

Be regular in your medical check ups:
  • Check your blood glucose levels: High blood sugar can be indicative of diabetes.
  • Check your numbers: Measure your cholesterol, weight, body mass index regularly as well as your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Your doctor can advise you on your CVD risk and help you improve your heart health.

Understand the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Over 70% of all cardiac and breathing emergencies occur in the home when a family member is present and could help a victim. Talk to your healthcare professional about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) courses so you can help a loved-one in the event of a heart attack.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Here are some signs of a heart attack:
  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes – or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light headedness.

Symptoms vary between men and women. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Do not waste a minute, call for emergency medical help if someone around you is having a heart attack.

Some facts about heart diseases:
  • Heart disease is also known as cardiovascular disease (CVD) or coronary heart disease (CHD) and includes illnesses associated with the heart and vessels.
  • Heart attacks occur when oxygen-rich blood is blocked and can’t flow to the heart. The section of the heart devoid of oxygen begins to die if the flow isn’t restored in a sufficient amount of time.
  • There are many types of heart disease, including: hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary heart disease (heart attack), and cerebrovascular disease (stroke).
  • It is predicted that by 2030, almost 23.6 million people will die from a type of heart disease globally.
  • Alcohol and stress can also increase cardiovascular risk.
Health tips to prevent heart diseases:

1. Cholesterol levels:
High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. Preventing and treating high blood cholesterol includes eating a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber, keeping a healthy weight, and getting regular exercise. All adults should have their cholesterol levels checked once every five years. If yours is high, your doctor may prescribe medicines to help lower it.

2. Prevent and control high blood pressure:
Lifestyle actions such as healthy diet, regular physical activity, not smoking, and: healthy weight will help you to keep normal blood pressure levels and all adults should have their blood pressure checked on a regular basis. Blood pressure is easily checked. If your blood pressure is high, you can work with your doctor to treat it and bring it down to the normal range.

3. Control diabetes:
People with diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease but can reduce their risk through weight loss and regular physical activity.

4. No tobacco:
Smoking increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Never smoking is one of the best things a person can do to lower their risk. And, quitting smoking will also help lower a person’s risk of heart disease.

5. Moderate alcohol use:
Excessive alcohol use increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. People who drink should do so only in moderation and always responsibly.

6. Maintain a healthy weight:
Healthy weight status in adults is usually assessed by using weight and height to compute a number called the “body mass index” (BMI). BMI usually indicates the amount of body fat. An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. Overweight is a BMI between 25 and 29.9. Normal weight is a BMI of 18 to 24.9. Proper diet and regular physical activity can help to maintain a healthy weight.

7. Regular physical activity:
Adults should engage in moderate level physical activities for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.

8. Diet and nutrition:
Along with healthy weight and regular physical activity, an overall healthy diet can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. This includes eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lowering or cutting out added salt or sodium, and eating less saturated fat and cholesterol to lower these risks.

The best heart healthy exercises:
  • Suryanamaskar – This yoga move will strengthen the upper body and keep it supple. The repetitive movement of going up from the ground to standing is a great heart-pumping exercise.
  • Swimming – Water can be a great medium to give you a super effective cardiovascular workout. It is a safe and intense workout.
  • Cycling – The continuous non-impact pedalling can place smooth and constant tension  on the leg muscles and make the heart work as hard as you want it to.

Whether its chest pain or discomfort or you want a second opinion regarding a heart surgery. Consult our expert Cardiologists at the Centre for Cardiac Sciences. Please find below link for more details:


Alzheimer’s Disease

Friday, September 21st, 2018

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia. Dementia is a broader term for conditions caused by brain injuries or diseases that negatively affect memory, thinking, and behaviour. These changes interfere with daily living. Most people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease need full-time support at later stages to complete daily living tasks such as getting showered and dressed, eating, or completing any household task.

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Most people with the disease are diagnosed after age 65. If it’s diagnosed before then, it’s generally referred to as early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have discovered that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the build up of proteins, sometimes called plaques or tangles, within the brain. However, the cause of these protein build-ups is still unknown. Some risk factors have been determined, including age, genetics, and head injuries. Proper care giving and support can increase a person’s quality of life. There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are treatments that can slow the progression of the disease.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s:

Everyone has episodes of forgetfulness from time to time. But people with Alzheimer’s disease display certain ongoing behaviours and symptoms that worsen over time. These can include:

  • memory loss affecting your daily activities, such as your ability to keep appointments.
  • trouble with familiar tasks, such as using a microwave.
  • difficulties with problem-solving.
  • trouble with speech or writing.
  • becoming disoriented about times or places.
  • decreased judgment.
  • decreased personal hygiene.
  • mood and personality changes.
  • withdrawal from friends, family, and community.
Alzheimer’s Risk Factors

Here are some of the risk factors which make you more prone to Alzheimer’s:

  • Age: Most people who develop Alzheimer’s disease are 65 years of age or older.
  • Family history: If you have an immediate family member who has developed the condition, you’re more likely to get it too.
  • Genetics: Certain genes have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Head injuries: A serious head injury can highly increase your chance of getting Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s Stages

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, which means the symptoms will gradually worsen over time. Alzheimer’s is broken down into seven different stages:

  • Stage 1: There are no symptoms at this stage, but there might be an early diagnosis based on family history.
  • Stage 2: The earliest symptoms appear, such as forgetfulness.
  • Stage 3: Mild physical and mental impairments appear, such as reduced memory and concentration. These may only be noticeable by someone very close to the person.
  • Stage 4: Alzheimer’s is often diagnosed at this stage, but it’s still considered mild. Memory loss and the inability to perform everyday tasks is evident.
  • Stage 5: Moderate to severe symptoms require help from loved ones or caregivers.
  • Stage 6: At this stage, a person with Alzheimer’s may need help with basic tasks, such as eating and putting on clothes.
  • Stage 7: This is the most severe and final stage of Alzheimer’s. There may be a loss of speech and facial expressions.

As a person progresses through these stages, they’ll need increasing support from a caregiver who can be a family member or a hired help.

Myths and Facts

Here are some myths and facts about Alzheimer’s:

Myth 1: Memory loss is a natural part of aging.

Reality: As people age, it’s normal to have occasional memory problems, such as forgetting the name of a person you’ve recently met. However, Alzheimer’s is more than occasional memory loss. It’s a disease that causes brain cells to malfunction and ultimately die. When this happens, an individual may forget the name of a long time friend or what roads to take to return to a home they’ve lived in for decades.

Myth 2: Alzheimer’s disease is not fatal.

Reality: Alzheimer’s disease has no survivors. It destroys brain cells and causes memory changes, erratic behaviours and loss of body functions. It slowly and painfully takes away a person’s identity, ability to connect with others, think, eat, talk, walk and find his or her way home.

Myth 3: Only older people can get Alzheimer’s.

Reality: Alzheimer’s can strike people in their 30s, 40s and even 50s. This is called as early onset Alzheimer’s.

Prevent Alzheimer’s

Here are a few things you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s:

  • Be physically active.
  • Learn new things, keep your brain busy.
  • Adapt healthy eating habits.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Lower your stress levels.
  • Treat depression.
  • Conduct regular health checks ups to maintain normal blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight.
  • Avoiding smoking & excessive alcohol intake.

The specialised Alzheimer’s Clinic at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital sees numerous patients every year. Our team of experts offer holistic support for the patient to live better. Please see the below website link for further details:


World Bone Marrow Donor Day

Friday, September 14th, 2018
What is a bone marrow?

Bone marrow is a soft, spongy material found in your large bones. It makes more than 200 billion new blood cells every day, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. But for people with bone marrow disease, including several types of cancer, the process doesn’t work properly. Often, a bone marrow transplant is a person’s best chance of survival and a possible cure.

What you need to know about bone marrow transplants

Bone Marrow Transplant is transfusing into the patient blood stream HLA matched blood Stem Cells capable of developing into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, replacing a transplant patient diseased or damaged Stem Cells. In India every year about 2 lakh patients require this form of treatment. Unfortunately HLA matched Donors are not easily available. This means that more than 1, 40, 000 patients are not given the best possible treatment. If unrelated but HLA matched Donors are made available then transplants can be done & will provide hope to many of these patients. A Bone Marrow transplant is the process of infusing healthy Marrow into a person to replace diseased or damaged Bone Marrow. The original Marrow is eradicated using high dose chemotherapy or radiation.

Only about 30% of people who need a transplant can find an HLA-matched donor in their immediate family. For the remaining 70% of people, doctors need to find HLA-matched bone marrow from other donors. Register to be a bone marrow donor, help save someone’s life.

The bone marrow donation process:

There are two methods used for donation – PBSC and Bone marrow donation.

Peripheral blood stem cell donation (PBSC) donation is a nonsurgical procedure and the most common way to donate. For 5 days leading up to donation, you will be given injections of a drug called filgrastim to increase the number of cells in your bloodstream that are used for transplant. Some of your blood is then removed through a needle in one arm and passed through a machine that separates out the blood-forming cells. The remaining blood is returned to you through the other arm. Most donations are done by this method. The process takes about 3 hours and may be repeated on a second donation day. Side effects include headaches, bone soreness, and discomfort from the needles during the process.

Although less common, some donors may be asked to undergo a Bone marrow donation process. It is a surgical, usually outpatient procedure. You will receive anesthesia and feel no pain during the donation. Doctors use a needle to withdraw liquid marrow from the back of your pelvic bone. Donors usually go home the same day of the surgery and can return to normal activity within 1 week. Common side effects include nausea, headache, and fatigue, most often related to the anaesthesia.

When bone marrow donation is crucial:
  • Each year, leukaemia kills more children than any other cancer.
  • 70% of patients in need of a marrow transplant do not have a matching donor in their family.
  • A bone marrow transplant can save the life of someone battling leukaemia, lymphoma, or another blood cancer.
  • Radiation and chemotherapy treatments are often successful in destroying the cancer cells, however, in the process; they may also destroy the patient’s healthy cells and Bone Marrow.
Things a donor should know:

There are also several misconceptions about Bone Marrow Transplants that prevent people from registering themselves as voluntary donors. First of all, the sample for the HLA typing is taken from the mouth, a swab is used to remove a small soft tissue from the inside of the cheek, so not even a prick is required. This is saved in their records to match any future bone marrow transplant requirement.

Once you are found to be a match, you are given a full counselling session and have to go through a complete medical check-up. Unlike, as the name might suggest, the donor’s stem cells are removed from the peripheral blood and not by piercing the bones. The actual removal of the stem cells is done at a medical facility under complete medical supervision.

Myths and facts:

Myth: Stem cell Donation involves a lengthy recovery process.

Fact: Due to taking the drug filgrastim, PBSC Donors may have symptoms such as bone or muscle pain or fatigue in the five days leading up to donation. These symptoms nearly always disappear one or two days after donating, and the Donor is back to normal. Stem cell Donors can expect to feel fatigue, some soreness or pressure in their lower back and perhaps some discomfort walking. Stem cell Donors can expect to be back to work, school and other activities within one to seven days.

Myth: Donating stem cells is dangerous and weakens the donor.

Fact: Though no medical procedure is without risk, there are rarely any long term effects from donating. Only 5% or less of the donor’s stem cells are needed to save a life. After donation, the body replaces the donated stem cells within four to six weeks.

Myth: Donors have to pay for the transplant.

Fact: Donors never pay for the bone marrow transplant process. The patients insurance or the patient bears the expenses.

Myth: Bone marrow donation is time consuming.

Fact: In most cases, donors are asked to donate within one to three months after receiving a request. For peripheral stem cell donations, the donor must visit a medical office for filgrastim injections for the five days before the procedure, and then the donation day . Donors can return to their normal schedule within a few days. The bone marrow extraction process takes one to two hours, and donors may stay overnight at the hospital. Even so, most are able to return to their normal schedule within 1 to 2 days.

Meet out experts at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital to know more about Bone marrow transplants and donations. Please fine below link:


Suicide Prevention

Monday, September 10th, 2018

10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day. Some suicides are planned much in advance while some are sudden acts out of frustration and anger. Statistics that for some suicides there are 25 attempts. That means a person may have suicidal thoughts for months and years before actually putting it into action.

“Suicide does not end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibilities of it ever getting better!!” — unknown author.

The last thing that most people expect is that they will run out of reasons to live. But if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you need to know that you’re not alone. By some estimates, as many as one in six people will become seriously suicidal at some point in their lives!

Suicidal people need help. Here some facts to know about suicidal thoughts:
  • Suicidal thinking is usually associated with problems that can be treated.
  • Clinical depression, anxiety disorders, chemical dependency, and other disorders produce profound emotional distress. They also interfere with effective problem-solving.
  • Therapists and counsellors (and sometimes friends) can help you to see solutions that otherwise are not apparent to you.
  • Suicidal crises are almost always temporary.
  • Problems are seldom as great as they appear at first glance.
  • Reasons for living can help sustain a person in pain.
  • Do not keep suicidal thoughts to yourself.
If someone around you is feeling low or depressed watch out for these warning signs of suicide:
  • Talking about wanting to die.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often.
  • Exhibiting anxious, agitated or reckless behaviour.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing from friends and wanting to be left alone.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.
  • Having a plan for dying by suicide.
  • Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order.

Warning signs aren’t always obvious… some people may talk about their suicidal thoughts/intentions, others may not.

Dows a friend or a family member shows suicidal signs? Here is how to act:
  • Do not leave the person alone.
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
  • Talk to the person and convince him or her to consult a mental health professional.
  • Get family and close friends involved.
Here are some ways how one should not react with a person who is suicidal:
  • Suicide is a selfish and cowardly act.
  • Think about how your death will hurt people.
  • Other people have worse problems and don’t want to kill themselves.
  • People who commit suicide go to hell.
  • How can you think of suicide, things aren’t that bad.
Instead say things like:
  • You sound upset, it seems that you’re frustrated?
  • Show empathy instead of sympathy.
  • I’m worried, how long this has been going on?
How to help prevent suicides:

Never agree to keep thoughts of suicide a secret. Sometimes instinct tells us we have to break confidentiality. Talking about suicide can provide tremendous relief and being a listener is the best intervention anyone can give. Talking about suicide will not cause suicide. When experiencing intense emotions, the person will not be able to problem solve. It is not your job to fix their problems. Listen, care, validate and be nonjudgmental.

If you or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact the Psychiatry department at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Timely help and intervention from a health expert can save a life. Please find below link:


Nutrition Week

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

You are what you eat. Your emotional health, physical well being as well as your skin and beauty is highly influenced by your dietary habits. Nutrition is an issue of survival, health and development for current and succeeding generations. Healthy food combined with a regular exercise is the foundation for good health. Healthy children grow up to better IQ and adequate nutrition makes them more productive while, poor nutrition can lead to reduced immunity, increased vulnerability to disease, impaired physical and mental development, and reduced productivity. Obese children grow up to suffer from mood swings, depression, hormonal imbalances, risks of asthma, diabetes, and heart problems.

Problems faced in India

Undernutrition is a problem which seems to be higher in rural India. It is a known fact that an undernourished mother begets a baby with low birth weight. It jeopardizes a child’s survival, health, growth and development, and thereby slows down the national progress towards development goals.

Overnutrition, on the other hand, is a curse of the modern world and globalization. Urban India is currently witnessing a rise in the number of people who are obese. The urban population has started relying on convenient and processed foods that contain a large amount of trans-fat, sugars, and other unhealthy and artificial ingredients. Obesity is considered as a major predisposing factor for many health risks like cancers, diabetes, heart diseases and strokes.

Here are a few guidelines for a healthy diet:
  • Eat a variety of foods – Having a variety of foods helps ensure that you get all the disease-fighting potential that foods offer.
  • Portion size matters – You can eat plenty of green vegetables and fresh fruits. However when it comes to higher-calorie foods portion control is the key. Fast foods restaurants serve dishes with huge portion sizes. Avoid them or split it with a friend.
  • Include a rainbow in your diet – Include green orange, red, purple and yellow produce. The nutrients, fibre and other compounds in these foods may help protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases. Legumes, rich in fiber, count as vegetables, though are moderately high in calories. Choose fruits over juices due to the fibre content.
  • Get more whole grains – At least half the grains you eat should be whole grains like wheat, barley, and oats. Whole grains retain the bran and germ and thus all the nutrients and fibre of the grain.
  • Limit refined grains and added sugar – The refined carbohydrates in white bread, regular pasta and most snack foods have little or no dietary fibre and are devoid of many nutrients too. Limit foods which have added sugars like soda and candy. These are sources of empty calories and contribute to weight gain.
  • Enjoy more fish and nuts – Nuts, fatty fish, avocados and vegetable oils supply healthy saturated fats. Though high in calories these foods do not promote weight gain. Choose olive oil over butter for cooking.
  • Shun trans fats – Trans fats are used in processed foods such as commercially baked items, fast foods and snacks. Trans fats raise LDL – bad cholesterol and also reduce HDL – good cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Keep sodium down potassium up – Excess sodium raises the blood pressure in your body and has other harmful effects. At the same time consumption of more potassium is beneficial as it helps lower blood pressure. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, potatoes, bean, and yogurt.
  • Watch your calcium and Vitamin D – These nutrients are vital for your bone health. Calcium is present in dairy products, soya bean as well as in some leafy vegetables. Vitamin D is available in sunlight but might needs some supplements too.
  • Limit alcohol – If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Binge drinking can be dangerous for your health and heavy drinkers are prone to various liver, heart and a wide range of health problems. Alcohol also increases the risk of certain cancers. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should avoid alcohol altogether.

Our team at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital recommends a balanced diet for all. Do consult our Nutrition department for a personalized diet plan made as per your age, profession, health condition as well as lifestyle. Please see below website for more details: